According to Deadline, Feige was praising the actress/producer's "talent, vision, intelligence and savvy" — when he teased a "top secret Marvel Studios project" that has nothing to do with her Natasha Romanoff character.
"Scarlett has lent her talent and star power to the Marvel Cinematic Universe for over a decade. That she's chosen to play a key part in it for so many years, I am extremely grateful for," Feige said. "Working with [her] has truly been one of the most memorable and rewarding collaborations of my career."
What Feige didn't mention was Johansson's infamous lawsuit against Disney, in which she sued for breach of contract; when the House of Mouse decided to release "Black Widow" on streaming concurrently with theaters, the actress — who was the first MCU star to serve as exec producer on her own film — claimed she was screwed out of back-end profits written into her contract.
Disney fired back at the time with an unusually fiery response, saying the "sad and distressing" lawsuit had "no merit whatsoever", accusing it of having "callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic."
According to Deadline, after the very public war of words, Disney settled for more than $40Million.
At Thursday's ceremony, Feige said Johansson would once again serve as producer on the new secret project.
Many more of Scarlett's MCU peers gave praise on the night, including Sam Rockwell, Chris Evans, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Downey Jr. and Jeremy Renner, as well as Jon Favreau, who said there was a reason so many in the industry insisted on doing "repeat business" with the actress.
"Everybody who works with Scarlett wants to work with Scarlett," the Iron Man director said. "She's dedicated, and she always lets passion dictate what she does next."
During her acceptance speech, Johansson thanked everyone who spoke for "taking the time to make me feel very shy and embarrassed," describing the honor as "one of the highlights" of her career.
Starting with a 25-year-old Eddie Murphy in 1986, the American Cinematheque Award has been bestowed on a stellar list of Hollywood greats, including, in order: Bette Midler, Robin Williams, Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard, Martin Scorsese, Sean Connery, Michael Douglas, Rob Reiner, Mel Gibson, Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jodie Foster, Bruce Willis, Nicolas Cage, Denzel Washington, Nicole Kidman, Steve Martin, Al Pacino, George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Samuel L. Jackson, Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr., Ben Stiller, Jerry Bruckheimer, Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Ridley Scott, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Charlize Theron, and Spike Lee.
At 36, Johansson is among the youngest to ever receive the award.